The regular writer of "Ask Vic," packers.com editor Vic Ketchman, is out of the office. Staff writer Mike Spofford is temporarily filling in to answer your "Ask Vic" questions.
Brian from Champaign, IL
Hey Mike, can you chronicle for us your favorite play that you saw under Friday night lights? High school plays can be pretty crazy, and I'm sure you’ve got one or two great stories.
I’ve got plenty, but as far as my favorite play, I once saw a high school team execute the hook-and-lateral to perfection (or hook-and-ladder, if you prefer), and it brought a huge smile to my face. I hadn’t seen it done that well since the Dolphins in that classic playoff OT thriller against the Chargers when I was 10 years old. It took about 25 years after that until Boise State pulled it off so expertly against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The high school one I witnessed was in between and was a beauty. So were our college attempts in flag football intramurals, some of which were actually successful. Love that play.
Benny from Madison, WI
Vic, do you think the Packers hold the best RB/QB duo in the NFL with Rodgers healthy and Lacy heading into his second season? Who do opposing D-coordinators focus on when developing their gameplan?
You know, I hadn’t thought of Rodgers and Lacy being the best such duo until you put it that way. The other combos in the discussion would have to be Philadelphia’s Foles-McCoy, Chicago’s Cutler-Forte, Kansas City’s Smith-Charles, Washington’s RGIII-Morris, Seattle’s Wilson-Lynch and San Francisco’s Kaepernick-Gore. Maybe I’m missing one or two others worth mentioning, but I’d take Rodgers-Lacy right now, wouldn’t you? The fun part is the duo is still in its infancy. With the early-season concussion, Lacy didn’t really get going until Week 5, and then Rodgers got hurt in Week 9. In that context, the pair everyone will hope to see in 2014 has had only six games together, and the only loss in those six was the playoff game against the 49ers. Stephen from Cedar Falls wondered if Lacy could have a 2,000-yard season. I don’t see it, primarily because of who his QB is.
Jose from Weslaco, TX
With Boykin already proving last season his skills, awareness, talent and most of all chemistry with Rodgers, is Boykin the automatic third wide receiver?
Boykin is definitely the man to beat for the job. His numbers last season were comparable to James Jones’ rookie year back in 2007. I realize 2013 wasn’t Boykin’s rookie year, but it was his first season of extended playing time. If anyone can mount a charge for that spot, I would expect it to be Davante Adams, but we haven’t seen Adams in pads yet.
Adam from Hales Corners, WI
Vic, I’m starting to become very concerned about Ted Thompson’s trend towards not valuing certain positions. One of note is the WR spot. I know I sound crazy, but we've let some talented players leave recently and we have two that I feel need to be signed ASAP. Is TT willing to let Aaron take the field with new receivers every year? Do you think we can win more championships soon without Nelson and Cobb, and finally am I just being silly?
I’m glad you used the words crazy and silly, because to suggest Thompson doesn’t value wide receivers is just that. In the last seven drafts, Thompson has selected eight wide receivers, including three in the second round (Nelson, Cobb, Adams). Yes, he let Greg Jennings and James Jones leave in free agency, but let’s not forget that prior to 2012 he offered Jennings more money than Jennings ended up getting from the Vikings once free agency began. Given the current timeline, there’s way too much angst over possible pending contract extensions for Nelson and Cobb. All in due time.
Jake from Barrow, AK
Vic, can you name any players who were mediocre at best during the first years in the league and then went on to become greats? I like Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy, JC Tretter, and Derek Sherrod and I have high hopes but I feel like history tends to go the other way.
Since receivers are on my mind at the moment, after three years in the league Donald Driver had 37 receptions for 520 yards, and after 11 more seasons he retired as the franchise’s all-time leader in both categories. Who’s the next wait-and-see guy?
Kenneth from St. Joseph, MI
How many people whine that you never answer their questions? I believe I'm in that group. Your question form feels like a casino slot machine that never pays out...
Ding, ding, ding!! But gambling is illegal at Bushwood …
Steve from Madison, AL
The Florida State Seminoles and 15 NFL teams use GPS harnesses from Catapult Sports to monitor player performance, structure practices, and minimize injuries. Are the Packers among the NFL 15 whose use this technology?
Yes. Some players were wearing the harnesses during OTAs. We’ll see if the Packers learn anything. Time will tell, and no, this was not an invitation to re-start the stretching conversation.
Kevin from Napanee, Ontario
Would you like to see the rule that on a conversion attempt it’s a live ball for the defensive team to recover and be able to run it back for two points?
Yeah, but with the league trying to make every play safer – and with an eye more toward eliminating the one-point PAT anyway – I don’t see that college rule being adopted.
Buck from Sioux Falls, SD
I've heard there is a chance that Peppers could be moved to inside linebacker. Do you see any scenario where that would happen?
In a sub-package, sure. Clay Matthews has lined up as an inside linebacker – or shifted in that direction pre-snap – in certain pass-rush packages throughout his career. Every down, base defense? No.
Tom from Evergreen Park, IL
Will Peppers be an every-down player?
Mike McCarthy has hinted no, that the Packers won’t use Peppers on 800-plus snaps as the Bears did. But I don’t think that means Peppers will be just a situational player, such as a third-down pass rusher, either. I expect it to be somewhere in between.
Larry from Spokane, WA
So Vic, seeing as how we have a great looking defensive front and options in our secondary, which do you think will be our defining factor on defense this year?
Ross from Stephenson, MI
Just a comment on the free-kick conversation. You probably know this, or someone might mention this in reader comments, but Mac Percival of the Bears booted a 43-yard free kick to beat the Packers in 1968. Has to be the most important free kick in Packers history.
John from Austin also mentioned that it came after a short punt into a stiff breeze by Donny Anderson. Indeed your memories are good. Again referencing Cliff’s book, another interesting tidbit to that story is the Bears got the idea about the free kick from having the Packers do it against them four years prior, with Paul Hornung kicking a 52-yarder just before halftime.
Dennis from Rhinelander, WI
The Charles Martin play also brings to mind another cheap shot that occurred between the Packers and Bears. Ken Stills leveled Matt Suhey about five seconds after a play had ended, and if I remember correctly he wasn't even penalized. That is another reason for the great Packer/Bear rivalry.
Earlier in that game Mark Lee pushed Walter Payton well out of bounds, and Lee was ejected after both players tumbled over the bench even though it appeared Payton had a hold of Lee’s facemask to bring him along for the ride. By the way, Stills was penalized, but not ejected as Lee was. Those Gregg-Ditka years were really something.
Joe from Park Falls, WI
I am only 13 and my dad has been telling me about Chuck Cecil. I looked him up and that guy was absolutely nuts. Who is the craziest player you have ever seen play?
I’m not just saying this because he coached here, but Kevin Greene was one wild man on the football field. He had an on-field personality that didn’t quit, and I mean that in a complimentary sense. Enjoyable to watch play, but crazy enough to make you cringe once in a while at what might happen next.
Nick from Durand, IL
Hey Mike, who in your opinion is the best defensive line in history? I love watching quarterbacks getting chased around and I think the Rams are going to have a scary pass rush with the addition of Donald.
The Rams have indeed assembled quite the crew. With all due respect to Vic’s Steel Curtain, I’m going to say Minnesota’s Purple People Eaters. I’m not old enough to have seen them in person, and I know the Vikings never won a Super Bowl, but that quartet of Carl Eller, Alan Page and Jim Marshall and Gary Larsen helped them get to multiple Super Bowls, and you don’t hear nearly as much about the linebackers and defensive backs from that Vikings defense, so I’ll give props to that unit.
Armin from Koeflach, Austria
Hi Mike, as most of NFL fans did, I thought that the Lions will address their secondary first in the draft. We all know that they added an additional threat to their offense with Ebron. Apparently they are confident in their defense and the plan is to outscore their opponents. What is your take on that?
The secondary may be the last piece the Lions need, when you look at that roster, if Caldwell can do what he hopes to do with Stafford at quarterback.
Mike from Plover, WI
Do you think it’s time to do away with the pass interference penalty yardage? The college rule is much better and more fair. You can commit a personal foul that could injure or even end a player’s career and get a 15-yard penalty, but bump into a guy and get a 40- or 50-yard penalty to me is just silly.
Several of you chimed in, as I thought I did last week, that you can’t just eliminate the spot-foul penalty and give defenders the option of taking away a 50-yard catch by grabbing a guy for a 15-yard infraction. That kind of blatant violation doesn’t happen much in college, but that doesn’t mean the pros couldn’t exploit the loophole. How about the refs keep the flag in the pocket when a guy is only “bumped” 40 or 50 yards downfield, but wasn’t necessarily prevented from catching the pass? Exercise more discretion, please.
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